By Damilola Faustino
When attending events, it is usually incomplete if you do not network. You do not simply go to events and not reach out to others. You may never meet a potential business partner, mentor or investor. The problem some people have is breaking the ice with people or individuals they have never met before. They are afraid of their reaction and as such, they keep to themselves. Do not take this approach or stance. You will lose a lot. Below are networking conversation starters or breakers to help:
The usual How are you?
This might sound boring, but by preparing an enthusiastic response, you can open up a conversation: “I’m just GREAT! I have just…” or “I am about to…” This initial answer can set a positive, even celebratory tone, to your conversation.
What is it that your company does?
Asking this gives you a chance to dive into the specifics of this new contact’s products or services. With that information, you can then see if there is a professional or personal match with your own goals and values.
What did you think of the speaker/conference?
Industry functions with slideshows and speakers might not necessarily be set up for networking, but a question like this can make it happen. Ask those around you what they thought about the speakers, who was their favourite, what was the most interesting part, etc. The conversation should flow from there.
How did you get into the industry?
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The fact is people love talking about themselves, and they enjoy reminiscing about what brought them to the work in the first place. The more you get them to talk, the more they open up. Remember, it is an exchange.
Offer a compliment, it always works.
Compliments always work. You will see the person beaming with a smile. Of course, your compliment should be sincere, and it should be appropriate. If you make people feel uncomfortable, it will have the opposite effect and repel instead of attracting.
Ask about them about their accomplishments
If you have identified people you want to connect with at an event and you know that they will be there, do your homework. Search the web to find recent recognition or praiseworthy achievements. When you meet them, ask about how they managed their accomplishments. It’s always nice to be congratulated, but people are often pleased to talk about the process that led to their success.
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